Disgraced MPs will be expelled from the Commons. 

After having her Labour whip taken away, Webbe is currently an independent MP representing Leicester East.

Under a rule that was established following the 2015 Parliamentary expenses scandal, voters in Leicester East could soon be able remove her from office.

Any MP who is – can be recalled under the parliamentary rules. 

  • Convicted for an offence and given a custodial sentence (including one that is suspended) or detention order, other than under mental health legislation.
  • Barred from House of Commons for 10 sittings days or 14 calendar days;
  • Convicted for providing false or misleading information in order to claim allowance under the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. 

A recall petition will not open in the case of a conviction if the appeal period has expired without the conviction, sentence, or order being overturned or all appeals having been heard and dismissed. Webbe indicated that she will appeal. She is likely to remain as an MP for many months. 

A recall petition can be opened and 10% of the electorate vote for Webbe to be recalled. This will trigger a byelection. 

Since their creation, recall petitions have been used to remove two MPs. One was in 2019 and one was in 2020. Labour MP Fiona Onasanya was sentenced to three months imprisonment for lying about a speeding ticket. 

Chris Davies was the Tory MP in Breconshire and Radnorshire. He pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court to making false expenses claims. He was ordered to do 50 hours unpaid work and fined £1,500.

Today’s Labour MP avoided jail after she was found guilty for harassing a lover rival. 

Claudia Webbe, 56, was handed a suspended 10-week jail sentence and 200 hours’ community service at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. She made a string of threatening calls to 59-year-old Michelle Merritt between September 1, 2018 and April 26 last year after becoming suspicious of Ms Merritt’s relationship with her partner Lester Thomas, a Chelsea FC scout. 

In a message apparently sent to her supporters before the verdict, Webbe described herself as a ‘black woman in a white court’, adding: ‘I am facing a white system and white prosecutors. Because I am vulnerable, I was deliberately targeted. I am familiar with the sexism, racism, and media that are used to denigrate black women.  

And in court today, Webbe’s defence counsel Paul Hynes QC said she had been subjected to ‘extraordinary vilification’, including racist social media abuse. 

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring lambasted Webbe for her ‘callous, intimidating’ behavior. He called the online comments ‘disgusting’ but said he found it ‘odd and concerning’ that a probation service report said Webbe felt like a victim herself. 

The district judge stated that he had noted the four instances when she called herself ‘the victim’ during her testimony in the witness box. 

Today, Mr Hynes said the defence team were ‘taken aback’ by an application for costs totalling £17,620.82. He said his client, who told the court she had a salary of £81,000, ‘does not have that sort of money available’.

After her Labour whip was removed, Webbe is now an independent MP for Leicester East. Labour demanded Webbe resign as an MEP and a process is underway to remove him as a party member. 

Any custodial sentence not overturned under parliamentary rules will result in a recall petition. A by-election will take place if 10% of the electorate vote for her recall. This process cannot begin until appeals have been exhausted. Webbe indicated that she will appeal and could stay in the Commons for many months. 

After Keith Vaz’s previous MP, Webbe won the Leicester East Constituency in 2019. After offering to buy cocaine for male prostitutes, she resigned in 2019. As the Tories gained ground, she won with a smaller majority of 6,000 as opposed to Mr Vaz’s 22,000.

Local Labour figures fear that Mr Vaz could try to influence the by-election. He could even run for the office himself in what would be an extraordinary political comeback. However, a source close to Mr Vaz described the speculation as ‘tittle tattle’, according to the Huff Post.   

Webbe’s victim Ms Merritt sobbed today as she recounted Webbe’s harassment campaign.  

She spoke from behind a screen and said that Webbe had made me feel very vulnerable in public, even in my own home. I was afraid to enter my house. Many nights of sleeplessness followed. I would like to feel safer again. Ms Webbe’s government position (sic), makes it difficult to know what she’s capable of.

Ms. Merritt broke down in emotion when she said that she was worried Webbe would seriously harm’ herself.

She continued, “My self confidence has plummeted. I have anxiety attacks. It is almost like I am a hermit.” I have fallen into enormous debt and desperately wanted to leave the region Ms Webbe said she knew I was from.

She continued, “I am so proud I have been able to continue because no women should be threatened or harassed in the same way she has to us over the years. Not even a politician.” 

Claudia Webbe, 56, made a string of threatening calls to 59-year-old Michelle Merritt. She is seen with hand in hand outside court today with her partner, Lester Thomas

Claudia Webbe (56), made a series threatening calls to Michelle Merritt (59). Today, she is seen outside court hand in hand with Lester Thomas, her partner.

Loyal Corbynite, ex-aide to Red Ken, who took over from Keith Vaz, and told court, “I’m not mad. I’m an MP.” 

Webbe was born in Leicester and studied social sciences at De Montfort University before moving to London to study race relations at Birkbeck.

As an aide to Ken Livingstone, she was first known for her work. He was suspended from office four weeks after he made a comparison between a Jewish journalist and a Nazi guard.

Webbe wrote to The Guardian expressing concern at Livingstone’s suspension. Webbe also stated that his work in the antiracist movement’s history was unquestionable. Ten years later, Livingstone would be expelled from Labour because of comments made about Hitler or Zionism.

Webbe was elected a councillor for the London Borough of Islington in 2010. She became a local MP Jeremy Corbyn’s orbit and moved up the ranks of the Labour Party after he became leader.

She was elected to Labour’s national executive council (NEC) in 2016, with the support of Momentum, a left-leaning grassroots organisation.

Two years later she was made chairman of Labour’s dispute panel – a role that saw her tasked with deciding whether to refer complaints, including allegations of anti-Jewish behaviour, to the committee that has the power to expel members.

It was a fitting appointment, given her previous defense of Livingstone.

The NEC then selected Webbe to become an MP for Leicester East in 2019. After being caught selling Class A drugs to male sex workers, Keith Vaz, a veteran MP, was suspended from Parliament for six months.

Webbe’s selection was not without controversy. John Thomas, chairman for the Leicester East constituency party, described Webbe’s selection of her as a fix and disgrace’, and promptly resigned.

Sundip Meghani, who lost to Webbe in the race to the seat, didn’t mince words, and criticised the ‘dodgy practice and nepotism involved’.

He added that this type of conduct where a well-connected favorite is nodded through is no worse than the Etonian Old Boys Network that Labour seeks out to condemn.

While Webbe went on to win the seat, she did so with a much-reduced majority – cutting Vaz’s 22,000 to one of just over 6,000. 

She sits in Parliament on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Environmental Audit Committee and the Committee of Arms Export Control. 

After an investigation, Webbe apologized in February 2021. She had violated the Code of Conduct of MPs through her late registrations of remunerations she received for her role of councillor in Islington. On October 13, she was found guilty for harassing Michelle Merritt, 59, 

Lester Thomas, Webbe’s partner in the case, was heard asking Webbe if she was mad. Susannah Stevens, the Prosecutor, suggested that the comment was made by the MP because she had gone mad. Webbe replied, “I’m not mad. I’m a Member of Parliament. 

Additional reporting by Tom Rawstorne at the Daily Mail  

Webbe was described by the judge at her conviction as “vague, incoherent and illogical” and she said that she had’made up evidence’. 

Yet former leader Jeremy Corbyn came to her defense and described her as a warm-hearted person who is particularly devoted to social justice issues.

He wrote, “Claudia is a person committed to ensuring justice and is willing to tell uncomfortable truths when it is important.

“I have great respect for her and have confidence in her. As someone who has known her for many years, I can recommend her as a person with good character and a valuable contribution to the world.

John McDonnell, a former shadow chancellor, wrote that he knew her to be honest, responsible, and extremely caring.

Claudia demonstrates empathy and emotional understanding in all she does. Claudia will always go the extra mile for someone in need.

“She has shown, both as a trade unionist representing her member’s and as a member representing her constituents, that she has that human quality that allows her to relate to others, understand their concerns, and gain their trust.

“She is meticulous in her behavior, always polite and respectful, and mature in her judgment.” I have seen her respond calmly and sincerity in the most difficult situations. 

Ms. Merritt stated that last month she felt ‘worried, unnerved’ by the MP calling her.

She said that ‘When you are called and there is no one answering, it unnerves’ you, especially if you are a single woman.

“We’ve all seen the movies.” You don’t know who is calling or who is watching you.  

Ms. Merritt was contacted by Ms. Webbe on Mother’s Day 2019. She identified herself and she decided to call the police.

Ms. Merritt stated to the call handler that she was there with her daughter, celebrating Mother’s Day, but now that’s over, the reality has hit me.

“She works for Labour Party. She is in the public eye and she accuses me of, in my words,’slagging around her boyfriend’. I am not.

“She’s threatened acid over me, she knows my address, she’s going send photos of me and him, to my daughters.” 

The court heard that Webbe was contacted by officers from police who hoped that it would be over.

Ms. Merritt received calls on April 25th, last year, each lasting eight seconds and both from the exact same number.

Ms. Merritt said to the court, “I just hung-up very quickly.” I didn’t want her to speak to me.

“[Having received those two calls]I needed to prove that she called me, as there was no caller ID at that time and the first threat call was not recorded. So I called back the number that was on the phone.

The recording was played to the court. Webbe answers the telephone and immediately starts shouting at Ms Merritt.

Webbe: “Why are you still getting in and getting with Lester?” Why, why?

“He’s not your friend. He’s with me. I don’t want you to be in contact with me, and I don’t want you to touch him.

Webbe’s partner Mr Thomas can be heard shouting in the background: “Don’t listen, send me a note whenever you like. 

“Michelle, please hang up the phone and call police.

Webbe shouts: “Lester, why don’t we go and live together?” Take everything you have and go and live together! 

A judge described Webbe (seen today) as 'vague, incoherent, illogical and untruthful' and said she had 'made up evidence on the spot'

Webbe (seen today by a judge) was described as ‘vaguely incoherent and illogical’ by the judge. She also claimed that she had’made up evidence on-the-spot’ 

Ms Merritt wants to know why Webbe keeps calling her, but Webbe screams at her: ‘Can we stop. Can you please get out of this relationship? Get out of this relationship!   

“I’ve seen all the posts, I have seen all your naked pictures, and I’ve seen your entire relationship with Lester. Get out of my relationship!

“Otherwise, I will tell your family and I’ll show them all your pictures.” 

Webbe threatened to send her family naked photos of a woman she had captured on video

In a recording that was played to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Claudia Webbe answers the telephone and immediately starts shouting at Michelle Merritt.

Webbe: “Why are you still getting in and getting with Lester?” Why, why?

“He’s not your friend. He’s with me. I don’t want to be in contact with him. 

“I don’t want you to be in contact with him.”

Webbe’s partner Lester Thomas can be heard shouting in the background: “Don’t listen, send me a note whenever you like. 

“Michelle, please hang up the phone and call police. 

Webbe shouts: “Lester, why don’t we go and live together?” TAKE EVERYTHING WITH YOU AND GO TO HER & LIVE WITH HIM! 

Ms Merritt questions Webbe about why he keeps calling her, but Webbe shouts: ‘Can I stop. Can you GET OUT OF MY RELATIONSHIP, GET OUT OF MY RELATIONSHIP. 


“I’ve seen all the posts, I have seen all of you naked pictures, and I’ve seen your entire relationship with Lester. 


“Otherwise, you can tell your family and I will show your photos to them.” 

Webbe is then informed by Ms Merritt that she is recording the calls, and will ‘leak the information to the media’ before hanging up.  

Webbe, who testified last month, said she called Ms Merritt April 25 to report that Mr Thomas and her had’repeatedly violated lockdown’ rules during a meeting.

She claimed she was arguing to Mr Lester when Ms Merritt called.

Webbe answered the court when asked if she had ever made withheld phone calls to Ms Merritt. She threatened to throw acid on her and call her a slag, and threatened to send her naked photos to her family.

“This is not something I would do and it’s not in my character. Those terms, these words, are not my words.

“I would never use such expletives, so derogatory terms about someone else let alone a woman.”

She said that “Lester” had told Michelle he had met up with her, and she had replied “you can’t really do this, we are in a national locking down.”

‘Lester doesn’t believe that cover is real, so I felt I had a responsibility to tell Michelle she shouldn’t be breaking the law.

“He believes it’s a hoax. He doesn’t want vaccinated. He doesn’t believe it.

“I couldn’t understand how she would break lockdown with Lester, and I couldn’t comprehend why Lester would.”

He felt that he was an important worker and that he could continue living his everyday life.

“He saw nothing wrong in it and so meeting up with Michele was something he did.

“I said, “Well, you really can’t do it,” but he didn’t want to listen so I asked Michelle if she could not break lockdown with Lester. 

Webbe stated: “On April 25, 2020, I confronted [Lester]Why he went out.

“He told me Michelle needed him, so he couldn’t choose.

‘The conversation between Lester & I became hateful.

“I tried to call Michelle twice that day to understand why she had repeatedly broken lockdown with Lester. Michelle called me back during this.

‘During the call, Michelle was having two conversations at one time and I repeatedly told her to get out. By this, I meant that she shouldn’t be relying upon Lester as support because they were not in a romantic relationship.

‘I didn’t threaten her with photos of her – this comment was directed at Lester because Lester had been physically violent, and I was trying my best to get him off of me.

“Eventually he smashed me phone… I was so mad at Lester that he wouldn’t listen to me. He didn’t want to respect my role of MP and he didn’t want to understand the severity of Covid.

‘People were dying within my constituency. I lost constituents and a friend to Covid. It was so hard to understand why Lester couldn’t grasp the severity of this pandemic, and how important it is to follow the rules.

Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Webbe (both pictured above) as a 'warm-hearted person' who is particularly 'dedicated' to issues of social justice

Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Webbe, both pictured above, as a warm-hearted person’ who is especially ‘dedicated to’ social justice issues.  

Webbe said, breaking her voice, “He was constantly reproaching me, ridiculing my, goingading [me], as though this isn’t as serious as people make it out to be and that he can do whatever he wants.”

Michelle said, “It was a terrible situation. I just wanted Michelle to understand it and try to help me.” I wanted her to stop engaging in conversation with him for the sake the pandemic… I was so mad with Lester.

Webbe claimed that the ‘naked photos’ were a reference over an argument about her partner Mr Thomas’s trip to St Lucia, which would have included their engagement.

She said to the court, “When I ran to be an MP in Leicester East, we were to go to St Lucia.”

Lester continued, “I couldn’t go”, and he went ahead to St Lucia. He had taken a picture of himself. I would guess he was naked from waist up. He or his family had taken the picture, and I wanted to find out who took it. 

“He was not forthcoming with the identity of the photographer. He was naked from his waist up.

She continued, “My partner was goading me and gaslighting.” He knew that we were living in a domestic. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew he was reaching for my arm. He knew I was telling to stop. 

“This is about denial and goading, gaslighting and coercive controlling.

Webbe (pictured with Mr Thomas) is currently sitting as an independent MP for Leicester East after being suspended by the Labour Party

Webbe (pictured with Thomas) is currently sitting in Leicester East as an independent MP after being suspended from the Labour Party  

Webbe continued, “I was angry at Lester. My anger was directed towards Lester. She [Ms Merritt]I was in the middle a heated argument with Lester.

“She called me and asked me to end my relationship with her. She was continuing an argument that I had with Lester. It was probably the worst argument that I’ve ever had.

“I have never had a neighbor call me about domestic abuse, where I am left screaming and my phone is damaged at the end.”

She said, “I felt no anger towards Michelle and I’m sorry that that tape portrays because it isn’t my finest moment but it wasn’t meant to cause Michelle any harm. It just is to me very embarrassing.

“It’s not something that I want to repeat…I just wish that we would never go there again.”

Webbe won the seat previously held by Keith Vaz (Labour veteran who retired in the wake of a scandal) when he entered the House of Commons.

Between 2010 and 2018, she was a councillor in Islington and a member the ruling Labour National Executive Committee.

In her earlier years of her career, she was a political advisor to Ken Livingstone (then-London mayor).